Alaska Robotics

AKRN – Attack of the Giant Weed Monster

Thursday, October 30th 2014 by Pat

Alaska has a marijuana reeferendum on the ballot this fall but we aren’t the first to blaze this trail. Alaska Robotics News sends their top reporters into the field to see how life has changed in the states of Washington and Colorado where marijuana has already been legalized.

Come Film with Alaska Robotics News!

Tuesday, October 28th 2014 by Pat

This weekend we’re filming a short segment for our series of election related satire and you can help!

the crew

Join us at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center this Saturday at 1:00pm and please come dressed like you would if you were waiting in line to vote… But we need you to imagine that voting is as exciting as a big blockbuster movie.

We want this to look like the line for Star Wars or Lord of the Rings except you’re lining up to vote instead.

Maybe that means you’ve been camped out in line for days or you’re dressed as your favorite political hero or villain. Or maybe you’re more excited about the ballot measures. Whatever the case, we’re trying to paint the picture of a whimsical alternate reality where people care deeply about voting and there’s huge excitement about the process.

Please dress for the weather, we may need you to mill around outside for a bit while we film. Hot chocolate will be provided.

Here’s our Facebook Event invite if you want to RSVP.

AKRN – Into Darkness

Monday, October 27th 2014 by Pat

We’ve been publishing op-ed essays at the Alaska Dispatch along with our satire segments. The editor we work with called this episode “meaty.”

AKRN – Lame Tricks

Thursday, October 23rd 2014 by Pat

Alaska Robotics News takes on the annoying and inescapable snow machine advertisement.

If you’re wondering, yes, the original Don Young Call of the Wild commercial does have an awesome ghost wolf.

AKRN – Victory Chili

Monday, October 20th 2014 by Pat

We visited the Parnell headquarters in Juneau and tried out the victory chili. It was really quite good!

For the record, we weren’t hassled or asked to leave and most everyone played along. It probably helps that I grew up here in Juneau and that among the attendees were my high school government teacher and my best friend’s dad.

Small town.

I’m told that all the credit for the recipe goes to Paulette Simpson.

AKRN – The Deciding Vote

Thursday, October 16th 2014 by Pat

Alaska Robotics News is back! We’re making six shorts leading up to the November 4th elections and sharing some of our distinct op-ed babble through the newly reconstituted Alaska Dispatch News.

Newsletter: First Friday featuring Lucas Elliott

Thursday, October 2nd 2014 by Pat

I just sent out our wildly irregular gallery newsletter. Check it out here…

Spirit 525px

U.S. Forest Service Photography Rules

Thursday, September 25th 2014 by Pat

EDIT 9/26/2014 – I’m not going to delete my original post but my thoughts on this have evolved quite a bit in the past 24 hours. The short version is that the rules aren’t quite as draconian as news sources reported. A tidy summary of the rules available at WNCOutdoors.info.

smokey bearThere was a sensational headline in our newspaper today related to a U.S. Forest Service proposal which could create more strict permitting for photographers. As a filmmaker and occasional photographer who lives in the Tongass, a 17 million acre temperate rain forest, this would have an effect on me and many of my friends.

The article makes it seem like the Forest Service is coming after anyone snapping selfies with a tree in the background but the reality is that this will only impact commercial photographers. The problem I see is that many talented artists make a living from their work and it’s often quite meager. To lump in Mark Kelly with Indiana Jones (some scenes were shot at Yosemite!) is an appropriate compliment but wholly unfair in a commercial context.

Here is the public comment I sent to the Forest Service:

Hi, I’m a filmmaker from Southeast, Alaska and I ask that you rethink your rule on commercial photography.

I run a small studio, I work on small projects and I worry that you are about to create a situation where small studios and independent producers will not be able to participate while those with deep pockets and vast budgets will roam free. I fear they will be the only ones who can afford to capture images of our shared wilderness under this proposal.

Ansel Adams was a commercial photographer whose work you should know well. He loved nature and made a living by sharing the images he captured. You probably also know that without his photographs, we would probably not count Yosemite Valley among our parks. It was his commercial photography and heartfelt advocacy that was key to the expansion of our parks system.

I insist that you do not create a rule that will be a barrier to true artists whose work may be of a commercial nature but ultimately aligns with the ideals of our National Park system. Do not create barriers to photographers who seek to document and share the beauty of nature.

While we’re talking about artists whose work is of a commercial nature, why should visual artists be singled out? Why does this fee not apply to the many poets and writers who draw their inspiration and make their living from within our national parks? I hope that is a question that you can answer before you move forward with your process. If it is a matter of impact then charge fees based on relative impact to all users of the parks. A single commercial photographer observing the rules of a park does no more damage than a single hiker.

I will of course understand if you decide to create a special level of permitting hell for projects related to commercial advertisements and reality television.

All my best,
Pat Race
Juneau, AK

Liz Close, the Forest Service’s acting wilderness director, claims that these regulations are required to implement The Wilderness Act of 1964. I think that’s a bit flimsy. In reading the document, it appears to me that commercial photography must be banned altogether or recognized, as it already is, as a proper recreational activity.

Commercial guides are allowed to help people find their way through the wilderness. Commercial photographers and artists help us to see, understand and appreciate these places from other important perspectives.

EDIT – Greg points out that I’m referring to the Park Service and the Forest Service interchangeably here and I shouldn’t. I hope my point comes through regardless, we need to protect small scale commercial use.

And to further lay bare my ignorance, a soothing walk through the issue by Carl Johnson complete with those decimal point number things that make me fall asleep.

Alaska’s Best Galleries and Museums

Wednesday, July 30th 2014 by Pat

laska-robotics-insideWe were recently contacted by The Culture Trip, a site aimed at connecting travelers to local arts and cultural experiences:

“We have identified Alaska Robotics as one of the most exciting galleries in Alaska. So therefore we would would like to feature it in our article: Alaska’s 10 Best Contemporary Art Galleries.”

I was skeptical at first, I thought it might be some kind of Who’s Who scam but they didn’t try to hit us up for money or harvest any data.

As it turns out, they actually put together a quite well researched article on some of my favorite galleries and museums in Alaska. It covers a wide range of regional hubs and they really did their homework on each location.

Now, I don’t know if we belong in the top ten, that’s certainly debatable, but we’re certainly honored by the company. The list features some true cultural touchstones, places everyone should make time to visit.

Thanks to our wonderful employees, guest artists, friends, family and patrons for making the Alaska Robotics Gallery the kind of place that gets mentioned in articles like this!

Packing my Bitcoins for San Diego Comic Con

Saturday, July 19th 2014 by Pat

bitcoin accepted hereI’m off to San Diego Comic Con in a few days and I’m packing my BTC!

We’ll be accepting the digital currency at our booth (#1134) but I’m also packing a couple hundred milliBits on my phone to spend on weird and wonderful things.

I’ve been buying Bitcoin (and Litecoin) for a while but I haven’t spent any in the wild yet so this is all very new and exciting to me.

I’m using the Mycelium wallet after getting a few recommendations from the folks in the /r/Bitcoin/ community. Several people also mentioned the Hive wallet but I haven’t tried that one yet.

We’ll see how the experiment goes, I hope I don’t drop my phone in a toilet the first day! I do seem to remember some phone trouble at last year’s convention. Something involving shards of glass and the smell of juniper.

However it unfolds, I’m looking forward to some adventures in cryptocurrency. Who knows what I’ll find, maybe some great comics and a burrito cart. That’s pretty much the dream.

Mmmm… Burritos.